Mamata burns midnight oil preparing Rail Budget

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 18, 2010 11:43 hrs

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been burning the midnight oil to prepare the Rail Budget, is understood to have accepted a majority of the proposals from state chief ministers on new trains and enhanced fund allocations for ongoing projects.

"She does not want to be seen as a Bengal-centric Minister and has made a conscious attempt to include most of the demands of various state chief ministers in her budget," said a source in the Ministry.

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Insiders said she remained closeted with top railway officials for hours finalising the budget on Tuesday and left her Rail Bhawan office only at 3.30 am on Wednesday.

The Rail Budget will be presented on February 24.

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There are indications that she might leave the passenger fares untouched but rationalise the freight rates keeping essential commodities aside.

She is expected announce more non-stop 'Duronto' trains but no more of Garib Raths, a pet project of her predecessor Lalu Prasad. The existing Garib Rath trains, though, will continue to remain in service.

There is also a proposal to construct railway lines on the pattern of national highways involving private players. "The revenue sharing model is being worked out," the source said, adding it might figure in Banerjee's Budget speech.

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